Like a child growing up and setting out on a life of adventure, in 1986 the Mark III was the Toyota Supra that stepped out of the Celica’s shadow, dropping both its Celica prefix and its overtly derivative styling. The new, 2+2 Supra kept its rear-wheel drive (the Celica changed to front-wheel drive), but got its own engine platform.
To begin with, its improved 3-liter engine (still a descendant of the Toyota 2000GT’s M engine) was naturally aspirated. With dual overhead cams and four valves per cylinder, it was the flagship of Toyota power. Then in 1987, the addition of a CT 26 turbocharger created the 7M-GTE, the first Toyota engine without a distributor, and the Supra Turbo Mark III initiated one of the longest, uninterrupted, barely modified and successful production runs in Toyota history.
The Supra Turbo Mark III was a powerhouse of new technology devoted to high speed, sharp manoeuvres and clean braking. Standard options included four-channel ABS, TEMS (Toyota Electronically Modulated Suspension), ACIS (Acoustic Controlled Induction System) and R154 manual transmission (automatic was available, but why would anyone want to be a wet blanket?). Eventually there would be new tail lights, front bumper and other minor changes, but there was only one basic trim.
The car was a roaring success as it stood — so much so, that in 1987 Toyota created a Supra Turbo-A special edition of 500, homologated to challenge for the 1988 World Touring Car Championships. All 500 came in black, with leather interiors and a hard top: they were too heavy to win a lot of races, but it was worth going to Japan just to test drive one.
Big, heavy, and powerful, the Supra Turbo Mark III catapulted Toyota into the elite of production sports car manufacturers.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
1986 (until 1992)
2,954 cc DOHC Straight Six Turbo
Top speed of 140 mph (225 km/h); 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 6.5 secs
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Subsequent generations of the Toyota Supra Turbo built on the Mark III’s status as the fastest road car (of its day) in Japan, acquiring a quasi-religious reverence for the model expressed by its appearance in the video game smash-hits Gran Turismo and Need For Speed.